In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges's character is clearly prey to the same kind of demons that afflicted Cash at times during his career.
His portrait of a feckless but lovable reprobate is a tribute to the dark strain of waywardness undercutting country's surface pretensions to piety and morality, from Hank Williams to George Jones, on through to the Stetson'd stars of tomorrow. Fortunately, Bridges's voice has the smoky, weatherbeaten character appropriate to the role, and he's lucky enough to be supported here by T-Bone Burnett's crack session crew, who bring the authentic flavours – from backporch rumination to roadhouse rockabilly – to the material written for Bridges by the likes of Burnett, Stephen Bruton and Ryan Bingham. It's all neatly crafted to reflect the mingled regret and pride of a fallen hero, full of great lines like "I been high, I been low, I been people that I don't know", "Funny how fallin' seems like flyin' for a little while" and "I could write a book about what I don't know". Bridges's tracks, and those featuring Bingham and Colin Farrell, are interspersed with bona fide country classics by the likes of Kitty Wells and George Jones, of which Waylon Jennings's "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" best celebrates both the genre's enduring stylistic verities, and the enduring fallibility of its stars.
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